Saturday, January 19, 2008

Samsung, CinemaNow Embrace Macrovision Vision of Set-top as Key Home Media Hub

January 19, 2008 – Convergence of Web and cable, satellite or telco video on consumer TVs and other devices stands to accelerate this year and next, as both consumer electronics and Web video firms embrace plug-and-play home network standards.

Indeed, a next generation of cable, IPTV and satellite set-tops promises to outrun a stalled generation of Web TV set-top boxes that have largely failed to gain consumer acceptance. In the process, the plug-and-play set-tops also promise to retain a crucial role for cable, IPTV and satellite operators in the Web video race to the TV.

Macrovision Corp. has advanced the multi-vendor plug-and-play movement on several fronts in recent weeks:
• Consumer electronics (CE) giant Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. licensed Macrovision Connected Platform technology to deliver next-generation set-top boxes by late 2008 with the capability to download, find and manage digital content seamlessly throughout the home. Samsung, a supplier of hundreds of thousands of set-tops to Time Warner Cable, will combine the Macrovision Connected Platform with its CableLabs-based tru2way (formerly OpenCable) applications platform to create a home network solution for cable.
• Movie and TV download service CinemaNow and Macrovision agreed to integrate their technologies to enable consumers to acquire premium video content and download it directly from CinemaNow to Macrovision-enabled CE devices such as digital television sets, set-top boxes and network attached storage (NAS) devices.

Driving Web video beyond PCs to the TV and other devices has taken a higher profile over the past year with the proliferation of Web video set-top boxes such as Akimbo, Apple TV and Vudu, and of video download-capable game consoles like Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. However, those boxes are dedicated to singular and exclusive walled garden content sources like,, Xbox and Additionally, a device like Apple TV interoperates with, and allows copying to, only iPod, iPhone and other devices made solely by Apple.

Arguably, those content and device walled gardens have contributed to limited consumer adoption of the dedicated Web video boxes.

In contrast, Macrovision and partners like CinemaNow suggest that Web video will makes its way to the TV en masse only if CE makers adopt common home network interconnection standards, and if content aggregators and distributors open their service access in a secure manner to multi-vendor, plug-and-play devices and home networks.

“The challenge everyone has right now is being able to have access across a wide reach of device categories,” says CinemaNow CEO Curt Marvis. “Someone will be more willing to buy Harry Potter when they know it will play on four different devices. We feel we have the most robust offering to put in front of all these different categories. I don’t care if it’s a set-top, retail CE or a mobile phone.”

Long a dominant leader in providing copy-protection technologies to Hollywood and television networks in the DVD distribution space, Macrovision intends to carry that mantle into online distribution and consumer fair-use copying, in part through several recent acquisitions.

The Connected Platform is based on software developed by Mediabolic, which Macrovision acquired last year. It provides the dominant reference architecture used by all CE makers adopting Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) guidelines for home networking. Scores of manufacturers of TVs, media storage devices, DVRs and other home networked devices are employing DLNA guidelines to produce devices that will automatically interoperate with other DLNA-certified devices by sharing a common stack of Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), MPEG and other standard protocols.


Jason Kiwaluk

Mower & Shoveller,

Ideation | Ecommerce | Fintech | Innovation | Strategy | Opinionated Agitator RevenueWire,FuturePay+PayMotion

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